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Pronunciation: eks-kêl-pê-tor-ri Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Exonerative, tending to clear someone of guilt, blame, or suspicion of wrongdoing.

Notes: Today's word is the adjective derived from the verb exculpate "to clear of blame". Besides today's adjective, it produced an abstract noun, exculpation. It also comes with a passive adjective, exculpable "capable of being exculpated",

In Play: Exculpatory is most often associated with evidence: "Eugene retrieved a pair of his sister's shoes and made fake shoe prints in his room. He hoped that they would be taken as exculpatory evidence to his mom, proving him innocent of responsibility for the sad state of his room." However, there are other uses, like this one: "The president took the investigative report to be exculpatory for him."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from a combination of Latin ex "out from, out of" + culpa "guilt". Culpa seems to originate in a Proto-Indo-European root kuelp-/kuolp- "to be bent, curved", source also of Greek kolpos "gulf", earlier "lap" and "bosom", both referring to a curved shape. English gulf was borrowed from French golf "gulf", inherited from Late Latin colfos, borrowed from the Greek. German wölben "to arch" is the only Germanic trace of the PIE word, since Old English hwelf "vault, arch" passed away. By the way, French golf was not the origin of the name of the game golf. This word originated in the 15th century as Scottish gouf "stick, club", assumed to be a alternation of Dutch colf with the same meaning.

Dr. Goodword,

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